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Mahon Point 19/20 August

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Hot off the press! We raised a staggering €3,646.01 at the Mahon Point collection weekend 19 and 20 August. We cannot thank all of our amazing donors, volunteers and BUMBLEance families enough for all your support. What a fantastic weekend. Big thanks to Mahon Point Shopping Centre #LoveBUMBLEanceKids

Fota Wildlife Park to host Twilight Walk fundraiser for BUMBLEance

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Come and see the new Sumatran tiger and cheetah cubs – All proceeds raised will go to the charity

On Thursday, 27 July, Fota Wildlife Park in Cork will host a fundraising Twilight Walk for BUMBLEance, the Children’s National Ambulance Service . The walk will take place from 6.30pm to 8.30pm (last entry is 6.45pm) and the cost of entry on the night will be €10 per adult and €5 per child with 100% of the proceeds going directly towards BUMBLEance. The PR BUMBLEance, one of the state of the art ambulances used at public events to showcase the work of the charity will be on site that evening, along with the BUMBLEance BEE Mascot.

Speaking at the launch of the Twilight Walk today, Director of Fota Wildlife Park, Sean McKeown said; “We are delighted to open Fota Wildlife Park for a very special evening in support of sick BUMBLEance children. The public can enjoy a magical evening viewing the animals, including our new Sumatran tiger and cheetah cubs, whilst helping us to support this wonderful children’s charity at the same time .’

All of the proceeds raised from the Twilight Walk will go directly towards a new Southern Region BUMBLEette Service. Based in Cork, the Southern Regional BUMBLEette will facilitate and support young patients who do not require full ambulance support with a paramedic on board, but who nonetheless are seriously ill and who require transportation to and from treatment centres nationwide. Based on a Mercedes Vito vehicle, the Southern Regional BUMBLEette will provide support to sick children and their families throughout Cork city and county as they travel to and from home to hospital, national treatment centres, and respite and hospice care facilities nationwide. The service will also provide a unique and specialised service through their end of life Angel Trips, which is the final journey a terminally ill child, takes on earth before he or she grows their Angel Wings.

Speaking today, Founder & CEO, Tony Heffernan said: ‘We are very grateful to Fota Wildlife Park for so generously opening up the park in support of BUMBLEance and we hope the public will come along and enjoy this very unique experience in support of our service. Our main goal is to achieve an Ireland where the fear and stress of an ambulance journey for a child no longer exists and our new, regionally based, Southern BUMBLEette service, will enable us to provide vital assistance to even more sick children and families in need of our help throughout the Rebel County.’

The Southern Regional BUMBLEette will be fully kitted out with all the BUMBLEance features, such as a TV, play station, DVD’s, music, fun BUMBLEance branding interior and exterior and sensory lighting and will have a defibrillator and suction machine on board. The BUMBLEette will also be utilized as a Chemo Cab service and will facilitate wheelchair and stretcher usage whilst enabling family members to travel with their loved ones in a safe, comfortable and secure environment.

Cork Committee is Launched

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Pictured as the Cork BUMBLEance Fundraising Committee is launched to help sick children throughout the Rebel County at The Cork International Hotel.
Paul Heffernan, Carmel Longergan, Tony Heffernan, Pat Guilfoyle, Sandra Murphy, Shirley Gallagher, Frank Caul, Sinead Paley, Scott MacKeown and Alice Delacour. Missing from the pictures are David King, Elma McCarthy, Hilda Horgan and Nicola O Sullivan.

BUMBLEance, The Children’s National Ambulance Service, is delighted to announce the launch of a new Cork based BUMBLEance fundraising committee.

The Cork Committee is compiled of a variety of Cork companies and professionals from all walks of life and includes well known Cork businesses such as The Cork International Hotel, Sirus, Flex, Musgrave, and several BUMBLEance families and supporters.

Chairman of the Cork Committee, Mr. Scott MacKeown said: “The Cork Committee was set up to support critically and seriously ill BUMBLEance kids and their families at a local level. Our main aim is to get a Cork based, Southern Regional BUMBLEette service on the road as soon as possible in order to help even more sick children throughout Cork city and County. The committee is holding a variety of fundraising events throughout 2017 and we hope that the community will come out and support our fundraising drive so that we can help to make life a little bit easier for sick children and their families.”

Speaking at the launch of The Cork Committee today, Saoirse Foundation Founder and Corkman, Tony Heffernan said: “We are delighted to have the Cork Committee on board with BUMBLEance as this will make a massive difference to so many seriously ill children and their families at a local level. Our main goal is to take away that fear and stress of an ambulance journey for a child. Our new, regionally based, Southern and Rebel BUMBLEette service, will enable us to provide vital assistance to even more sick children and families in need of our support throughout the Rebel County.”

The Cork committee was formed to raise funds to purchase and fund the operation of a new Cork based Southern Regional BUMBLEette service for sick kids. The Cork based vehicle will transport and support critically and seriously ill children throughout the Southern region, Cork city and County as they travel to and from hospital, national treatment centres and respite and hospice care facilities nationwide. The service will also provide a very unique and specialized service called Angel Trips. An Angel Trip is the final journey of a terminally ill child on earth as they travel to their home from a hospital or care facility before growing their Angel Wings.

The Southern Regional BUMBLEette will facilitate and support young patients who do not require full ambulance support with a paramedic on board but who nonetheless are seriously ill and require transportation to and from treatment centres nationwide. Based on a Mercedes chassis, the Southern Regional BUMBLEette will be fully kitted out with all the BUMBLEance amenities such as a TV, fridge play station, DVD’s, music, fun BUMBLEance branding interior and exterior and sensory lighting and will have a defibrillator and suction machine on board. The vehicle will also serve as a Chemo Cab service and will facilitate wheelchair and stretcher usage whilst enabling family members to travel with their loved ones in a safe, comfortable and secure environment.

As BUMBLEance provides a free service for families in need of transportation and support, the Cork Committee has been set up to raise funds for this new state-of-the-art Southern Regional BUMBLEette vehicle. Capital costs for the vehicle are €89.000 approx. plus running operational costs, outfitting and entertainment systems for the BUMBLEette will bring the total aim for the Cork Committee to €200,000. The Southern Regional BUMBLEette service alone will complete over 500 child trips per year and some of these journeys will facilitate more than one child on board at any given time.

BUMBLEance on the Ray Darcy Show

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BUMBLEance took to the sky on Sunday the 2nd July with our Mayo #KingBee Keith Gallagher and his Dad David. They were on the Ray Darcy Show with BUMBLEance CEO Tony Heffernan to talk about BUMBLEance.

Listen back to the interview here.


Keith Gallagher and dad David at the RTE studio getting ready to go on air

BUMBLEance takes flight for 12-year-old cancer patient

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An excerpt from RTE’s Lifestyle Blog on their Website

Miriam O’Callaghan visits the BUMBLEance

BUMBLEance was launched in 2013 and has become Ireland’s National and the World’s first interactive ambulance service designed specifically for children.

We spoke to founder Tony Heffernan to find out more about this amazing service and the charity’s first BUMBLEair flight this weekend for 12-year-old cancer patient Keith Gallagher.


Tony – for those who don’t know, what is Bumbleance and how did it come about?
BUMBLEance is part of the Saoirse Foundation, a not for profit charity founded by Tony and Mary Heffernan, proud parents of two special children, Saoirse and Liam.

The charity is named after our daughter, Saoirse, who was diagnosed with Batten’s Disease, a rare genetic and fatal disorder of the brain in 2009. In March 2010, Liam was also diagnosed with Batten’s Disease, after being told several times he didn’t have it!

With two critically ill children, we spent a lot of time on the road going to and from hospital appointments and surgeries. We know first-hand the stress and the challenges that parents face when moving seriously ill children.

The loss of dignity when attending to your kids at the side of the road, often very dangerous locations due to limited or no hard shoulder, Mary or I as driver, looking in the rear view mirror to see what was happening in the back, for example, Saoirse having multiple seizures a day, sometimes more than 200-300 times a day.

Following Saoirse’s death in January 2011 aged just 5, we knew it was time for a bright, happy and cheerful but specialised child focused ambulance service dedicated to transporting critically ill and seriously injured children.

BUMBLEance was launched in 2013 and has become the Children’s National Ambulance Service for the entire Island of Ireland. Our first vehicle, BUMBLEance 1, completed approximately 200,000 km in just 2 years, delivering smiles across the entire nation for hundreds of children from every county in Ireland.

In 2014, the Heffernan’s personally experienced the power of BUMBLEance themselves, when it undertook its most heart-breaking service, the end of life ‘Angel Trip”, This most special service allowed Liam to be taken home on his final journey on earth Like Saoirse, Liam grew his Angel Wings in our arms on our 13th wedding anniversary, at the age of 5 years.

Comparing Liam’s final trip to having Mary drive Saoirse home back in 2011 with me in the back, giving her oxygen, suctioning, attending to seizures etc….there is no comparison, I could line up 100 sets of parents whose children have died, I could almost guarantee that I could pick out those who were supported all the way to the grave by BUMBLEance, mentally and physically they all appear stronger.

Miriam O’Callaghan visits BUMBLEance

Despite you and your wife being through so much hardship, you were determined to help other children and have said a lovely thing – that you now have a family of about 1,000 children?
Yes, and why not? Our only focus as a couple who have no further children themselves feel the need to help so many who are just so wrapped up in dealing with day to day challenges, many of which we can help with, so let’s get them from A to B to C etc.. so they have less to worry about. Let them be parents and given that many of our King and Queen bees will die prematurely, let’s make every journey as fun as possible.

And if it’s a final journey, then we can do the compassion, the dignity and give families the chance for their little one to pass away in the comfort of their home and not in a hospital.

What have been the highlights to date?
Highlights to date, getting to help so many sick children and actually delivering on our core vision – making positive life impacts for sick children, (and their families) plus irrespective as to when and where a child travels on BUMBLEance, or if a child grows their Angel wings, we never forget, it’s just a big BUMBLEance after all!

Every time I see a BUMBLEance on the Road, it makes me smile, knowing that our children continue to make the world a better place, even though they are no longer here with Mary and myself.

What have been the biggest challenges for the charity to date? 
The biggest challenges are keeping the wheels of the charity rolling, we have to fundraise every single cent to buy the BUMBLEances and equip them as necessary and we rely on the generosity of the public to keep this vital service going!, Families rely on us at their most vulnerable period in their lives, we have to bee there for them!

BUMBLEance user Jack Beattie

Many charities have faced tough times over financial elements of the company, including BUMBLEance – how did you tackle this and come out on top?
We are very happy about the where the charity is and where it’s going, our board are very engaged, informed and optimistic for the future of the charity, with support like that we can hopefully only succeed in helping even more sick children.

Onwards and upwards, a very exciting event is happening for BUMBLEance this weekend – a possible new venture, BumbleAir?
Upwards is right! A number of years ago, I predicted that by 2017 we would have hopefully 5 vehicles on the road, and earlier this year our fifth and newest vehicle joined the fleet, (171) I also suggested back in 2013/14 that someday that our support for children may literally take off, and next Sunday is the day that we have our first BUMBLEair flight!

How did this flight come about and who are you helping?
This opportunity has been on the horizon for a little while, I had contact from a friendly Irish Commercial Pilot, Ryan Hanrahan, who wanted to make a difference for sick child, based on the Angel Wings service in the US, when Ryan found out about us, he asked could he join us in helping make life a little bit better for one of the very sick children we support, (last year we did over 800 child trips!).

With this in mind, we considered many of the children we help week in week out, one child whom we have been helping with our Children’s Chemo cab service via our New Northwest based BUMBLEance stood out, the child in question is KING BEE 12 yr old. Keith Gallagher from Mayo.

Keith and his family have had a terrible time, not only being diagnosed with a serious strain of cancer, but the family also lost their mom recently, also from cancer, so Keith’s Dad, David, has had a lot to cope with latly, rearing a family on his own coupled with the fact that Keith has to get chemo weekly and make 4 hour trips to/from Dublin on BUMBLEance . I think this little man needs to experience the BUMBLEance Experience in the air!

BUMBLEance vehicles

Who is involved in helping Bumbleair happen from people in the charity, hospital, doctors, the family, pilots to helicopter owners?
Keith attends Castlebar and Crumlin Hospital and our team at BUMBLEance liaise with his care providers to get him in and out of his treatments in Dublin etc.. so on Sunday Keith will be picked up with Dad David by our BUMBLEance team in the Northwest led by Aiden Thompson, an ex-Air Corps Rescue 1198 paramedic, taking them to Knock Airport and then they fly to Dublin and will be met by BUMBLEance 4, driven by John McGuinness, who is our main driver there.

John actually only lost his daughter Abbey to Batten Disease last December, she had her BUMBLEance Angel trip and grew her Angel wings at home in Tallaght, surrounded by all her family, My Wife Mary and I were also there, we became very close to Abbey and the family and my wife was and still is a great support to them.

What is your ultimate dream for the charity and for BumbleAir?
Simple, I want an Ireland (and then a world!) where the fear of a child travelling to and from hospital no longer exists, life is too short, so let’s pack in as much quality time as possible.

Mary and I know how precious time is, and parents should enjoy the time with their kids as much as possible, and if the public and business world continue to support us, we can deliver even more smiles and hugs!

We’ll be covering the flight and will have an update and images from the first ever BUMBLEair flight on Monday, July 3.


BUMBLEance is chosen as nominated Charity for Top Oil’s Southern Region

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Top Oil, Ireland’s leading family owned home heating and fuel business, has announced BUMBLEance as their charity partner for the southern region as part of a new CSR programme. This national CSR programme will run from April 2017 until April 2018. As part of the process, Top Oil employees were asked to nominate charities in each region.

The charity chosen for the Southern region is BUMBLEance. BUMBLEance will receive support from Top Oil in the form of fundraising initiatives coordinated locally by Top Oil employee volunteers throughout the year.

Gerard Boylan, Chief Executive of Top Oil, commenting on the new CSR programme, said:
“Top Oil is a company with its roots in the local community. For this reason, we are delighted to announce that our partner for the Southern region is BUMBLEance. BUMBLEance was chosen as our charity for the Southern region by our employees and they will be actively involved in fundraising activities from now until April 2018.”

Tony Heffernan, CEO, BUMBLEance, said: “BUMBLEance is the world’s first interactive ambulance service designed specifically for critically ill children. The main function of BUMBLEance is to transport children for FREE who have complex, long-term serious or life threatening illnesses between their home and hospital in addition to our end of life Angel Trip. We also provide Children’s Chemo Cab service, bringing children with Cancer in and out of Treatment Centres. We are so grateful to receive this support from Top Oil and look forward to working with them to develop fundraising initiatives throughout the year.”

The charities chosen for participation in the Top Oil Grassroots CSR programme in the other regions are: ALONE (Dublin); Cystic Fibrosis Ireland (North East); Irish Autism Action (West).

Top Oil will continue its national partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland and a national fundraising day is also planned for the summer as part of the programme.

Christmas Holiday Arrangements

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christmasWe are closed for the holidays until Tuesday 3rd January. Should you need to contact us urgently over the holidays please email info@saoirsefoundation.com or phone/text 083 004 4444 and we will respond to you request as soon as possible. Happy Christmas #LoveBUMBLEanceKids